Frank Dakin (1910-1999)

Frank with wife Jessie, Peter, Shirley, and Carolyn in the side car

Frank was born on 4th Jun 1910 in Blackpool at 122 Waterloo Road. He was baptised on 24th July 1910 at Holy Trinity Church, Blackpool, in the presence of sponsors Emma Dakin, Alfred Jolly Dakin, Frederick Ilett.
A strict Victorian upbringing reflected in his character as an adult. Frank attended Thames Road Seminal School where his skills in mathematics set him on course for a career in engineering.

Franks first job was with the Blackpool Corporation where he would undertake an electrical apprenticeship. He talked about maintenance work on the electric trams and was involved in building the first moving tableau of the Blackpool illuminations – two juggling clowns. From 1926 Frank took night classes at the Harris institute at Preston, traveling by bus. In 1927 he passed the senior technical course in electrical engineering achieving a distinction in all three elements of the course – mathematics, mechanics, and electrical science.

In 1928 he passed the national certificate in electrical engineering, again, achieving a distinction in Mathematics. In 1929 he passed the advanced technical course in electrical engineering with a distinction in mathematics.

Frank worked for William Eaves, a large building firm that had their own brick works. Peter recalls visiting the brick works aged 3 or 4. Living at Clifton Crescent.
Frank attended holy trinity church and became a keen scout leader. This is where he met Jessie Dewhirst, the daughter of a south shore grocer, who played an active role in running the Sunday school and the brownie pack at the same church.
Jessie recalled doing some of their courting in the windmill on Blackpool promenade. During the illuminations the corporation used the windmill to house fuse boards and equipment and because an electrician had to be on duty, the young couple took advantage of the selection.

In 1933 frank and Jessie took a cycling holiday in Wales on a tandem they called Tilly. Jessie kept an illustrated record of their adventures which she later had bound.

On 6 June 1934 Frank and Jessie were married at Holy Trinity Church, South Shore, Blackpool. They spent their first night at the park hotel then the following day took a train to Stratford Upon Avon. Tom Melling was Franks best man.

Frank purchased a 1928 Fiat 8 on honeymoon for £6 10s and a driving licence for £1. 19 Clifton Crescent must have been their first house together. Tilly wash old to buy a perambulator pending the arrival of Peter on the 28 May 1935. Their second child Shirley was born a year later on 31 may 1936. The children were born at Clifton crescent.
Franks war service was with the RAF as an electrician/service engineer. He moved to several different bases in the north west taking his family with him, including Silloth, Cumbria, and Stranraer where he worked on Sunderland flying boats used by coastal command. He was briefly posted to an aircraft storage facility at Whinfell, Penrith as commanding officer. Possibly rented out Clifton crescent. Carolyn was born in 1942 at 18 Burlington Road.
Victoria hospital as electrical engineer. Keen walker. Owned an Austin 6. Michael born at 18 Burlington Road.
In 1948 frank took a post as deputy engineer at Lancaster moor hospital and the family moved into no3 daisy bank, a hospital house. Frank still owned two houses in Blackpool which he rented out, 26 Bampton Avenue built by his father and 19 Clifton crescent. He was second in responsibility to Mr Leuty, for all aspects of heating, lighting, and mechanical maintenance of vehicles and hospital equipment.
He and Jessie took an active role in the hospital social life performing in the amateur dramatic group and organising Christmas parties and other social events. In the days before TV these events were the basis of every bodies social life and were very well supported.

In the coronation year of 1953 the hospital social committee organised a great pageant based on Elizabeth 1 and Elizabeth 2. The men built the tableaux including a miniature golden coach pulled by six boys dressed as postal lion riders carrying a very young queen Elizabeth and her prince Philip. Michael was one of the guardsmen escorting the coach.
The ladies made costumes from old fabrics and curtains, after wartime rationing some things were still hard to obtain. Peter played the role of sir Walter Raleigh and Hurley that of a lady in waiting in a tableaux featuring Elizabeth 1. Carolyn was one of the Morris dancers.
The tableaux featured in a coronation parade through Lancaster and at several other events during the summer.
Pall franks children went to school in Lancaster, a penny bus ride away. Peter and Shirley at the grammar school and Carolyn and Michael at Christ church primary, then Carolyn attended Gurnton secondary modern school for girls.

Frank and Jessie attended the village church of Quernmore where his skills were ‘volunteered’ for maintenance and heating. Michael recalls accompanying his father to the church on Saturdays to clean and light the coke boiler for the Sunday service. Even then hot water bottles were often essential.

Once a year a church boon day was organised. The whole place was scrubbed out and the grass of the church yard cut. The day concluded with a supper at the village hall, hot pot, pickles and bottles of beer.

Jessie joined the women’s institute at Quernmore soon becoming a committee member. This was the start of her long connection with the WI and the start of her career teaching and demonstrating handicrafts.

The family kept two pets at this time, a white sealium dog called Judy, and a large Persian cat called Moppit. The latter was in the habit of bringing home large amounts of dead fauna to decorate the back door mat.
In the 40’s and 50’s holidays were unsophisticated affairs and Frank, forever the scout leader, took his family camping. He had a large brown canvas ex-military tent for himself and Jessie which also doubled as the quartermasters store. The children slept in an assortment of small white 2 man tents. The Lake District was a favourite destination and only a short drive from Lancaster.

One summer Frank exchanged houses with his cousin Bill Dakin at Bispham, allowing them to have a break in the country, and his own family a trip to the seaside.

Another memorable holiday was a caravan trip to Stratford upon Avon where he had honeymooned in 1934. Frank had bought a blue 1936 standard 12 used by the Lancaster Fire Service during the war. He equipped it with a ball hitch and hired a twelve foot caravan which he towed down to the Avon valley. Carolyn and Michael travelled with them but Peter, who had started his national service and at the time was at the officer training school at Eaton Hall in Cheshire, joined them for a few days. Shirley travelled down from a week on a motor cycle with Uncle Bill Pye, a close family friend.

As the older children became more independent Michael recalls a holiday in Cornwall and Devon when Frank hired a wooden chalet in what nowadays would be called a holiday village. On a trip into Plymouth the family were amazed at the amount of destruction caused by German bombers just 10 years previously. The famous ship HMS Amethyst was being broken up in the docks.

Franks eldest two learnt to drive in the Standard 12 (DXV263) and were allowed to use it for social events and dating. However, things didn’t always run smoothly, Frank went out to it one morning to find the front mudguard lying on the back seat.

Formerly blue the car underwent a major face-lift being painted by hand light battleship grey with Royal Blue mudguards. Frank constructed his own exhaust system and Michael recalls him fitting a second red tail light (somebody in Whitehall thought it might be a good idea for cars to have two red lights on the back.

The latest additions to the family were a large black Labrador called Tonga (commemorating the Queen of Tongas visit to London for the Coronation) and a Siamese cat called Tchula (from the King and I).


In 1958 Frank was appointed chief engineer at Calderstones Hospital near Whalley, and moved into the hospitals North Lodge, a large three bedroom house. As the two eldest children had now left home Carolyn and Michael were able to have a room each.

TV was now ubiquitous with two channels available so peoples social lives had drastically changed. Frank and Jessie joined the Whalley players but concerts and parties were less frequent. Jessie joined the Mytton and District WI and so became a county official.

Frank attended Whalley Parish Church and joined the choir. Michael was confirmed and Shirley was married there.
After a few months at Whalley primary school Michael attended Accrington Secondary Technical School and Carolyn worked as a telephonist at Clitheroe post office (the days when telephones were part of the General Post Office).

In 1960 Frank took Jessie and Michael on the family’s first foreign holiday – a coach trip to Lucerne, Switzerland, flying from Southend to Ostend in an ancient Douglas DC7. The return leg of the trip included a two day stop in Paris, the fact that the Algerians where conducting a terror campaign against the French government hadn’t unduly concerned anybody until the family’s progress was interrupted by an armed Police Raid. Frank grabbed his incumbents and made

A second foreign trip in 1960 took Frank and Jessie on a WI organised cruise in the Mediterranean. Because of a mix-up in transportation there were several complaints resulting in a generous refund.

Frank decided to update his Standard 12 and bought a Commer Cob Estate a vehicle far more suited to transporting Jessie and her handicrafts to village halls from Cheshire to Cumbria. Both Jessie and Michael started driving in the Commer in 1962 the Commer was changed for a white mini estate 5700TF in which Michael passed his test and Jessie never did. She often went out on her own for practice and frequently used the back road to Whalley to do her shopping, until the local police got wind of it. She abandoned her aspirations of independence the night she corned too fast and rolled a tyre off its rim.

1964 was a special year when Frank became a grandfather to Andrew, the first of his six grandsons. Trips to Weatherby became frequent outings for Frank and Jessie especially in 1966 when Stephen their second grandson was born.

Frank joined the choir of St Marys Parish Church almost opposite his home. Michael was married there and eventually the ashes of both Frank and Jessie were buried there together.

On the 20.08.1965 Frank bought Sagar House, a listed property at 10 Church Street, Clitheroe from William Franas and Helen Rigs. Carolyn lived there long enough to decorate her bedroom then headed south to London. Michael lived there until his marriage to Diana Dawson in 1971.

In 1967 Frank sold 19 Clifton Crescent for £2700 then sold 26 Bampton Avenue in 1975 for £8600.

The conversion of an annex at Sagar House into a studio enabled Jessie to invite ladies groups to Clitheroe reducing the need to travel. Because of its central location Sagar House became a popular venue for charity and WI coffee mornings. Frank was very tolerant of the house full of women but Michael recalls returning home one Saturday morning from a week’s work and having his way barred by an unfamiliar face demanding two shillings entry.

In 1968 came the first of several trips to the USA to visit Peter and his family who had relocated to Eckhart, Indiana. On one occasion Frank and Jessie drove across the country to California in Peters Morgan +4.

When frank retired in 1974 he turned his hand to domestic matters. Whilst Jessie worked on her craft business he developed his cooking and jam making skills. His Lasagne became quite a speciality. He joined Probus and the local ramblers group taking his turn to organise walks. Pendle hill was always one of his favourites.

In the 1970’s Jessie developed angina which had a profound effect on her extraordinary vitality. In July 1977 she died suddenly and peacefully in her arm chair at Sagar House. Sadly Jessie only knew five of her Grandsons, the last one Richard was born just seven months after her death.

Frank maintained the large circle of friends accumulated though his connections with the church and the WI, and the ones who liked lasagne were invited to his dinner parties. He joked that by inviting two or three couples for a meal he would receive the same number of invitations for Sunday lunch.

He spent Christmas with either Shirley, Carolyn or Michael, and made another visit to Peter in the USA. He soon established a friendship with Janet Mason, a fellow rambler, who became a dear companion.

Frank drove his mini estate until the floor fell out but no longer having the interest or facilities to do other than light maintenance of his vehicles, he passed it down to a poorer but more enthusiastic generation. There followed a series of euro-boxes which for the purposes of our records were a Morris 1100, a Renault 14, and two models of the fiat Uno. Frank drove until his death but by his mid-80’s, and two cataract operations later, driving was very much a team effort with the passengers contributing as much to their progress as the driver.

1982 was the start of two years of serious travelling for Frank. Through the international contacts of his eldest son Peter, frank flew to Iran where he was employed as a consultant engineer to reactivate the main power generators of the Red Cross clinic at the southern tip of Iran across the river from Basra, Iraq. He was paid $5000 per month plus all travel, accommodation and daily expenses. The clinic had been blown up by the Israeli air force by mistake when they tried to destroy suspected atomic energy facilities thought to be producing atomic weapons.

The Iranians were so impressed with Frank’s work that they asked him to stay for two more months to work on another project for the aluminium corporation of Iran where huge amounts of electrical current is required to smelt the ore.

One anecdote to reach the ears of Peter was how they were amazed that Frank could touch major connections without being electrocuted. We’re quite sure however he knew what he was standing on at the time.

Frank spent his weekends visiting parts of Iran, Shiraz and other places.

He did not choose to fly home direct but met up with a friend from the Clitheroe conservative club in Kuwait and the two returned to the UK via Dubai, India, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Salt Lake, The Hoover Dam, The Grand Canyon and Louisville. On arrival in Kentucky he had to cash a cheque, he’d spent $15,000 and said “we went first class”.

In 1983 franks planned a walking holiday in the Himalayas. Christine Needham, the daughter of a distant relative, was living in Nepal where she taught English to the Gurka troops. Uncle Frank used her as a contact and base for his Nepalese trek. After his return he gave slide shows of his trek and recorded an audio tape. In it he describes the day to day progress of the trek and how he coped with the conditions.

He recalls in a high mountain village offering sweets to some Nepalese children who casually discarded the paper wrappers. They were checked by Frank and told to pick them up. He always thought people should have standards – even in the 3rd world.

In 1987 Frank annexed a piece of land to his garden which he had been using as his own and which had been bought by the district council from the previous owners.

In 1993 Frank was invited to Mallorca to holiday with Michael and his family in PTO Pollensa. He took to the Mediterranean lifestyle with enthusiasm enjoying the sangria and eating squid for the first time. He cut a comical figure promenading in his shorts which rather clashed with the socks and tweed jacket.
He fell on a walk along the Boquer Valley and again walking over the ridge to Calla San Vicente, he almost drowned in Pollensa Bay, but on leaving the island with a black eye, sutured nose, and bruised shoulder, thanks everyone for a wonderful holiday.

In October 1999 Frank had a stroke and was found on his bedroom floor by Mrs Moon his cleaner. He was taken to the hospital at Clitheroe and when visited by Michael and Diana appeared perky and full of humour. Sadly he had a second stroke and became unconscious. He was transferred to the infirmary at Blackburn where Carolyn, having travelled from London, sat with him for several days. He died on 10 Oct 1999 without regaining consciousness. Frank’s estate was split into 5 equal portions. One going to each of his children and one being split a further 6 ways for each of his grandchildren.


Hilda Dakin (1906-1991)

Hilda was born on the 5th May 1906 in Blackpool to James and Ellen Dakin. On the premature death of her parents she and her younger brother Frank were taken in by their spinster Aunt Sarah Jane at 62 Dean Street, South Shore.

Hilda, deeply religious, worked as a milliner (presumably with Alfred Jolly) and like her Aunt remained a spinster. On the death of her Aunt in 1933 she inherited the property and converted it into several flats. This income enabled her to take early retirement and devote the rest of her life to the church (Holy Trinity). Brother Franks mother in law, Jane Harriet Dewhirst (Janet) when a widow took the front ground floor flat living there for many years until her death.

Michael Dakin recalls many visits throughout the 1950s to his grandmother Janet. This usually included a visit to Hilda’s bedsit; a dark and austere Victorian room with a large pictures of religious content. In those days Weetabix printed the component parts of a car or lorry on the back of their boxes to be cut out and glued together. Hilda collected the boxes to amuse Michael during his visits.

As children older siblings Peter, Shirley and Carolyn have less fond memories of Hilda because of her extreme piety. On visits to their home she would destroy comics and anything she thought of low intellectual content.

With Peter and Shirley

In the 1980’s, when friend and companion Maggie Black became ill, Hilda sold 62 Dean Street and moved to Airdrie where suitable treatment for her friend was available. She lived at 30 Cairnhill Road.

During the 80’s, and after the death of Maggie, Hilda had 3 or 4 short holidays at Morland with her nephew Michael and his wife Diana. Michael visited her at Cairnhill Road twice, the latest time for her funeral.

When she died most of her assets were bequeathed to the Bible Society, but Michael was given the high back stool made by her father James and the sum of £2000.

She died on the 18th Jan 1991 and is interred at New Monkland Ryden Main Cemetery, Glenmavis.

Hilda and Maggie’s Headstone

Family Businesses in Blackpool

At the turn of the 20th Century many of the Dakin family in Blackpool ran businesses or were self employed. They all lived and worked in a very small area of South Shore.

Bond Street which cuts through Rawcliffe Street, Dean Street and Withnell Street was originally called Church Street. Alfred and Edward Dakin both had shops on this street and James had a workshop on Moore Street (with Jim Porter), just off Dean Street.

I found some evidence of these businesses on the excellent website  The following images are taken from that site and are copyright that site.

John Fisher Dakin (1844-1926)

John was born on the 2nd of June 1844 at Cherry Mount Lodge, Clough Lane, Eccleshall
Bierlow, near Sheffield. He was the first child of Samuel and Sarah Dakin. Samuel
was employed as a Coachman. Fisher came from his mothers maiden name; Sarah Fisher.

The 1851 census finds him living with his parents at Cherry Tree Hill, Eccleshall
Bierlow. At the age of 17 he is living, as a boarder, with an Edward Jolly and
family at 17 Bolton Street, Blackpool. There are four other boarders living with the
Jolly’s at this time and all are either painters or joiners. John’s occupation is
Joiner. It is here that he will have met his future wife, Ann Jolly, then aged 24.

John married Ann Richmond Jolly on the 23rd Jan 1866 in Blackpool. Ann was 3 months
pregnant at the time. The wedding certificate states that he was a carpenter. William
Jolly and James Tuner were witnesses.

Their first son Edward Samuel was born on the 20th June 1866, soon to be followed by
Sarah Jane in 1867. The 1871 census finds all four living at 9 Victoria Terrace,
South Shore, Blackpool. Three more sons arrive whilst living at Victoria terrace.
Alfred Jolly (b.04.10.1871), John William (b.08.01.1873), and James Richard

Some time in the next 6 years they moved to a bigger property, 2 Rawcliffe Street,
right on the sea front. In 1861 Ann’s brother William is also lodging with the
family and they have a servant, Alice Farmer. By 1891 Edward hs moved out and they
have a new servant, Mary Linguard.

2 Rawcliffe Street then

2 Rawcliffe Street now
By 1911, John and Ann had downsized and bought a smaller property at 62 Dean
Street, though Sarah Jane and John William, neither of which married, still live
with them.

John died on the 4th May 1926 at Dean Street, at the age of 81. His death certifcate
gives the cause of arteris sclerosis and myocardial degeneration. John William was
present at the death. A copy of his will is featured on another article.

Rounding of Ages in 1841 Census

An interesting fact that I discovered whilst searching census records was that in the 1841 census enumerators were instructed to round the ages of the individual. If you have been finding odd ages then this could be the reason why! The instructions that enumerators were given were to:

Write the age of every person under 15 years of age as it is stated to you.  For persons aged 15 years and upwards, write the lowest of the term of 5 years within which the age is.

Thus — for Persons aged
15 years and under 20 write 15
20 years and under 25 write 20
25 years and under 30 write 25
30 years and under 35 write 30
35 years and under 40 write 35
40 years and under 45 write 40
45 years and under 50 write 45
50 years and under 55 write 50
55 years and under 60 write 55
60 years and under 65 write 60
65 years and under 70 write 65
70 years and under 75 write 70
and so on up to the greatest ages.

It is clear from a survey of the of census returns that not every enumerator followed or understood these instructions as many people are listed with ages that contain odd numbers.

Will of John Fisher Dakin, Blackpool 1916

The last Will and Testament of John Fisher Dakin, written in 08.01.1916.

The Cheapest Way to Buy Certificates

Many genealogy sites offer a service to order the birth, marriage, or death certificates of individuals you are looking for or have found. Ancestry for example charges £22.99 for a certificate for standard delivery (approx 2 weeks).

The cheapest way to get certificates posted to you is to use the governments certificate ordering serivice at:

They charge a far more reasonable £9.25 and have a much quicker turnaround times for some certificates (between 4-14 days dispatch):

Dakin Probate Indexes

Edith Dakin of 603 Lytham Road, Squires Gate, Blackpool, Widow. Died 8 Jan 1947 at Kirkham Infirmary, Blackpool. Probate Lewes 12 Feb to Marjorie Linda Webb spinster. Effects £138 3s 1d

Edward Dakin of 184 Waterloo Road, Blackpool. Died 3 August 1939 at Victoria Hospital Blackpool. Admin London 12 September to Edward Samuel Dakin retired Boot & Shoe Dealer. Effects £1910 10s 2d

Edward Samuel Dakin of 184 Waterloo Road, Blackpool. Died 28 Nov 1947. Probate London 27 Jan to William Alfred Dakin, Solicitors Managing Clerk and Gladys Marion Dakin, Spinster. Effects £948 0s 4d

Elizabeth Dakin (1928) of 41 Albert Street South Shore Blackpool spinster died 27 April 1928 Probate London 12 June to Ann Bedford (wife of Hulmes Bedford) and Francis Pickford (wife of George Pickford). Effects £193 3s 4d

Gladys Marion Dakin of 184 Waterloo Road, Blackpool, died 7 Oct 1981. Probate Liverpool 29 Oct not exceeding £25,000 – 811609892K

Isabella Dakin of Castleton Derbyshire widow died 19 Feb 1913 Probate Derby 2 Feb to Frances Dakin, spinster. Effects £49 2s

James Dakin of 9 Swindon Avenue, Blackpool, died 30 January 1979. Admin Liverpool 10 April £11,322 – 791603575E

James Richard Dakin of 26 Bampton Avenue South Shore Blackpool died 20 April 1925 at Warrington Administration Lancaster 12 Sept to Edith Dakin widow and Hilda Dakin spinster. Effects £882 18s 10d

John Fisher Dakin of 62 Dean Street South Shore Blackpool died 4 May 1926 Probate London 9 July to Edward Samuel Dakin merchant. Effects £4124 18s

John William Dakin of 62 Dean Street South Shore Blackpool died 26 June 1940 Probate London 12 August to William Alfred Dakin solicitors managing clerk and Frank Dakin electrical engineer. Effects £2871 11s 10d. Resworn £2896 11s 10d

Sarah Jane Dakin of 62 Dean Street South Shore Blackpool spinster died 24 July 1933 Probate London 25 Sept to William Alfred Dakin clerk and Hilda Dakin spinster. Effects £2504 15s 11d

Samuel Dakin – 15 April. Administration of the personal estate of Samuel Dakin, late of Regent St, Haslingden, in the County of Lancaster, who died 30 March 1890 at Regent Street was granted at the principle registry to Sarah Dakin of Regent St Widow the Relict. Personal Estate £154 10s.

William Alfred Dakin (1954) –  of Pedders-Lane Blackpool died 28 November 1953 Probate Lancaster 20 March to Bertha Valerie Dakin widow and William Edward Dakin local government official. Effects £2367 8s 11d.

The 1911 Census – Blackpool

The 1911 census for England and Wales was taken on the night of Sunday 2 April, 1911. The count included all individual households, plus institutions such as prisons, workhouses, naval vessels and merchant vessels, and it also attempted to make an approximate count of the homeless.

The family members living in Blackpool at this time were (click a link to see the census return):

John Fisher Dakin – 62 Dean Street

Edward Samuel Dakin – 44 Withnell Road

Alfred Jolly Dakin – 35 Church Street

James Richard Dakin – 122 Waterloo Road

The locations of these families is shown below;

Frances Dakin (1881-1952)

Frances was born on the 10th July 1881 in Castleton to James and Isabella Dakin. She was the last of 7 children born to her parents, with Isabella being 46 at the time.

In 1891 her father had died and she is recorded as living with her mother and brothers, George and James, in Castleton “Island”. She doesn’t appear to have been recorded in the 1901 census. On the 14th March 1906 Frances gave birth to a son Harold in the Ecclesall Bierlow area. She was unmarried at the time and a father is not known. It is believed that Frances’ brother William and his wife Maud brought Harold up.

In 1911 Frances was working at Goosehill Hall, Castleton, as a Cook for the Minnitt family.  It is believed that some of this family perished on the Lusitania a year later.

In 1915 Frances was the recipient of her mothers Will, two years after Isabella died. The total she inherited was £49 2s and it appears that Frances was the sole beneficiary, perhaps as a result of being the only child of Isabella that was unmarried.

She married George Pickford on 28th April 1920 at the Chinley Chapel. George was a jobbing gardener at died at the age of 72 at their house in Mill Lane, Castleton, on 3rd March 1936. Frances died at the same location at the age of 70 on 5th April 1952.

Frances Dakin (rear) and Hannah Maria Dakin, Lillian, and Mary